Thursday, December 26, 2013

God Lives in America

I have long had a sneaking suspicion that God (or god, if you like) is not somewhere floating up in the stratosphere, but is a little nearer to home - to wit, living in America. Why America? - you ask. Well, when I was a kid, I grew accustomed to hearing frequent bouts of fervent prayer at church youth guild, and whenever this happened, the leaders (who always were the first to get smitten by the divine (or Divine, if you prefer) presence (or Presence - "now stop that!")) OK OK - divine presence -  and dive into prayer, always did so in American. Think about it - they are waffling on in a nice local accent then suddenly :

"Ar Laard , yes Laard, Ah kin feeel His presence movin' among uz, hallelujah Laard" & etc. You get the picture. Which made me think that the holy spirit at least might have spent some time growing up in America while the father and the son were footling around the middle east dropping tribesmen into holes for disobedience and getting crucified and resurrecting.

And then some years later, as a not-so-devout churchgoer, I noticed that whenever god (or Gaad, if you're American) was said to be doing a new thing in the church (I used to feel like a surfer having to keep getting out the spiritual surfboard so I could ride the new wave of whatever was going around every so often), it ALWAYS originated in the good ol' US of A. Which means god has a hotline to the spiritual head honcho in America (it doesn't matter which church it is - they tell all their mates about it in the other churches pretty quick, in the scramble for attendances and offerings).

And then America of course exports god's natty moves to the rest of the world on their continual quest to convert the infidel ("infidel (n) - anything not American").

However, I then wondered why God couldn't phone and tell us himself, rather than placing trust in the Americans to get the message right, what with line-loss etc., this might be preferable and definitely quicker. And it would be great for conservation of precious currency, not having to give it to visiting American preachers. And then it dawned on me. God doesn't call, because he doesn't have to - he's right in there with the Good Ol' Boys, doin' the thing in congress, or having congress or whatever they do in those august chambers. I bet in the off season he goes duck-hunting with them too - uses a bit of that divine will to plummet a few ducks out of the sky to stop the old codgers getting embarrassed about continually missing with large gauge shotguns.

However, there are many places in America where it's downright unhealthy to live - for example tornado alley, up through the gulf into Louisiana and the Carolinas and into the heart of Kansas. So God clearly doesn't actually stay there : he's probably there every so often twiddling the tornados so that they trash whoever has not been doing enough grovelling lately, and an extra quirk of ill-will in demolishing a few schools, kindergartens etc. He gets around - they don't call him omnipresent for nothing.

I bet he doesn't stay in New York or some other really cold parts in winter either - no self-respecting god would be seen rubbing his hands and blowing on them to keep warm - besides the gusts of breath may flatten the city - and that's never happened. God clearly winters in Florida where it's nice and warm, but then moves before tornado season gets underway.

In fact I think the most likely place for god to spend most of his time is in New Hampshire : the Scallion world maps indicate in the event of violent seismic upheaval, that New Hampshire is a safe place to be - certainly it seems many of the American politicians know this already, which is why they cluster there. And it certainly makes sense that God and the American supremos should mingle together after hours, so what makes more sense if you're intending to unleash a little death and destruction on the Earth, than to have a nice safe hidey-hole where you and "da boyz" can party on late into the night?

But remembering the earlier injunction? God gets around a lot - he may be there for a while, when there's a good party and everyone's getting pissed, but he'll move on as soon as there are a few new politician babies to kiss, or one of the televangelist's asses needs to be lit up during a religious rally. I mean - can one imagine not having Benny Hinn's backside lit up while rows of the devout are mown down by his waving jacket? It would be heresy!

Do you remember the US state that gave old George "Dubya" Bush the presidency? Yep - you're right - Florida. God needed Dubya in the Whitehouse so he could get him to be the puppet dumbass while the real matters of state were sorted out by the old boys club.

The Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, there was nothing that stirred
And all through the house came the wafting of turd
It was laid on the hearth by Daisy the dog
The cat was outraged, and aghast and agog!

It crept from the lounge down the hall like a fog
In a large pungent cloud from that fertile wet log
It ran up the stairs like a trail of green light
Why didn't the gas spontaneously ignite?

The parents were sleeping, the kids were awake
Watching and waiting for Santa to make
The familiar sound when the sled came to rest
While blissfully quietly the fog killed the guest

In the third bedroom off the landing en-suite
Just a stone's throw away from the adults replete
From the day's preparations, exertions and stress
It came upon them in their state of undress

And outside the house in the snow on the roof
Santa had landed and to tell you the truth
The chimney looked narrow and still very hot
And Santa's big ass got burnt in the spot

Which he used to control his rate of descent
Past the fluepipe, the soot, his red suit was rent
In several pieces and fell on the fire
Raising smoke and some dust like a great funeral pyre

And gasping and coughing, the danger he spurned
Ensuring his chestnuts would not get too burnt
He bravely stepped down with cunning and guile
Right on top of the rich stinking wet Daisy pile

He was nothing if not a resourceful old gent
As he went on arranging the presents he bent
Down and thought he caught just a bit
Of a smell that resembled some wet reindeer shit

Shrugging his shoulders he finished the chore
Ascending the chimney to fly off once more
And each place he stopped he anointed the floor
Round the presents the children had long waited for

And all round the world wherever he went
Sharing the infamous wet excrement
When people awoke aghast they did find
Their boyfriends and budgies and aunties were blind

From the clinging disastrous odorous blight
What was to have been a heavenly night
Turned into a nightmare the very next day
Of cleansing and steaming and no time to play

Christmas that year - a disaster, they said
When the clumsy fat guy on the roof wearing red
From not looking at where it was carefully curled
Wiped out half of the modern civilized world!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Bourne Getaway

Well - we've seen the Bourne Identity, the Bourne Supremacy and the Bourne Ultimatum, and lately, possibly even the Bourne Legacy.

Here now is the new blockbuster in the trilogy - nay quadrilogy - quintilogy about the life and goings-on of Jason Bourne. And everybody knows that in any good spy thriller, there has to be a getaway-thing going on. So why was Robert Ludlum so remiss that he missed it? Anyway, here for the first time, is The Bourne Getaway. Enjoy it.

The white BMW drew up almost soundlessly at the curbside, the fat tyres scrunching gently on the sandy gravel and the engine was cut. As the rear door was opened, a flurry of fur exploded outwards as the dogs from hell reunited with terra firma, locating the nearest rock and piddling voluminously to release the pressure of a long confinement. The front gate was unlocked with difficulty and swung wide on squeaky hinges and the  animals happily rushed away, around to the back and the freedom of the extended plot.

Bourne was home. At least he liked to think of it as "home", although it was more of a retreat into silence, albeit punctuated sporadically by the cries and curses of the onderdorp. He tried to screen these out when they occurred, although with his mind almost destroyed by the years of abuse it was almost impossible - the brain no longer obeyed him implicitly, it was starting to become "autonomous" in his older years. Sodding brain cells, doing their own thing.

He still entertained the occasional recollections of Treadstone and the anonymous brown stone frontage, but these days he was more attuned to tyre treads and skipping flat stones on the fusty little leiwater dam in the back yard. Bourne had found his refuge - granted, he often wondered whether the bastards would come after him again and would puncture his elaborate disguise as an overweight, arthritic accountant. He shrugged off the sombre thought of the pudgy old body, and fumbled around in the trunk for the big soft red ball that he would perch his bottom on a bit later while he pretended to do his spinal exercises.

Shit - this bloody boot lid needs adjusting - it was just a couple of days back that the damn thing had started to slam down rather quickly. Must be something wrong with the damping mechanism. Stupid thing nearly closed my fingers in the trunk. He held up the nicotine-stained fingers of the right hand - the trigger finger, honed through years of action and discipline, and noted with satisfaction the tremor that he had deliberately trained into the nerve response. Never know when you need a fast quivery trigger finger - wonderful for rapid-fire. Grab the trigger, and tremble. Works like a charm. He lost count of how many had died while he trembled his digit.

Having stowed all the crappola from the trunk and back seat in a large heap on the lounge carpet, he shambled through the back french door onto the concrete patio and gratefully lit a cigarette, sucking deep the smoke into every available cavity of lung alveolae. All this shit about cancer was just a bunch of dingoes kidneys, he sourly noted - if he was really meant to die, it would have been a lot sooner and considerably more painfully than he foresaw his own demise. Suck ciggy- so. Having flicked the butt into the outside braai area, he turned his attention to a second major priority in life. A drink, and a stiff one too.

It was still early, so he deposited his shapeless form into a plastic garden chair, farted and sagged in front of his laptop to do some exam paper setting. To him fell the burden of teaching clueless little tossers the finer things in life, like debits and credits, and amortized book values. And, Bourne noted, there is nothing finer after a braai of succulent lambs flesh, than picking your teeth with a T- account. The only thing that outdoes that, is a month end consolidation. Sparkling stuff!

He paused. Something in his subconscious niggled at him. What was different? He felt the hairs on the back of his scalp prickle, and his latent training although rusty and long-dormant, sprang to the fore. There was no sound. McGregor was holding its breath. No onderdorp dogs were barking, and even the carp in the stagnant leiwater dam seemed to be frozen. Was it that cold recently? Almost imperceptibly, he became aware of the faintest snick of sound, something that the untrained ear would never have detected. But his did. And it sounded like the arming of something extremely nasty and high powered, and very very automatic. Idly, he wondered how they'd found him in this backwater. What trick had he missed when he arrived? He supposed in his heart of hearts that they would never have let him live. And now it was time.

Where the hell were the dogs? Why hadn't they barked, or at least torn the kneecaps off the intruder? Bourne was getting rather edgy, what with the prospect of his imminent demise and the goddam arthritis wandering up his right arm. He tried very slowly to move his wrist, hoping that the movement would not be misconstrued by whoever was standing behind him. There it was again - the soft snick sound of a weapon being cocked.

"He's already cocked the goddam thing once" Bourne thought "what happened to the first bullet?" Had the hired gun managed to miss him at point blank range, or had he deliberately shot one of the dogs from hell? And why did he cock the gun only when I moved my wrist - maybe he's edgy? At that moment, as he steeled himself for the bullet to explode in his skull, there came a revelation every bit as violent in his addled brain - it was him causing the snick snick sound. Have they booby trapped my laptop? Awwshit - it's the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard - nearly killed myself by accident there, he mused. Jesus - imagine putting a bullet through my laptop keyboard. What would the missus say? "Jason - come away from that bottle! NOW!!"

Bourne gave up for the day - it was all too much excitement. He'd try setting papers tomorrow, after some supper and quick surreptitious page through a lewd book about Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the bath. Would need to be careful the pages didn't get wet.

Sunday dawned in its normal splendour and by the time he had roused, the dogs were at frolic as usual, sniffing and shitting and scratching up the plants that Hardy, The Gardener had so painstakingly put in recently. No point in calling off the dogs - there's plenty more money where that came from - Hardy can plant some more next week.

What's for breakfast? "Scrambled eggs on toast on the back patio, as usual - then the normal 11.30 braai, and then we leave for home, as usual". Bourne sighed. One of the little problems of enforced anonymity is that one has to do such mundane things, over and over, and over and over without end. God how he hated the life of an under-cover accountant. He had wanted to be a lumberjack as a youth, but the local council had cut down all the trees over 3 feet in height so the traffic cops could hide in comfort while peering over the stumps to trap unsuspecting motorists. So, thwarted in his ambition, he'd answered a local advert for "wet work" in the smalls, thinking that it had something to do with gardening. It was only years later that he discovered why they called it "wet work", when he had to do his own clean up after accidentally killing the local sweeper team who had been on standby for the hit. There'd been hell to pay for that little lark.

But that was all history - he'd moved on, and survived in a field that most didn't. And he had his pudgy body to show for it. Somewhere in the back of his mind, a thought stirred. He wondered if it was in fact the right thing to be doing - accountancy and progressive death in easy stages.

The compulsory braai over, he shovelled the crap back into the car, lobbing the unused laptop onto the pile and slammed the trunk lid, neatly snapping the laptop in two. Fuck, he screamed. There go all my T-accounts. Geddin goddamn dogs - we're outta here.

The BM swished majestically away, leaving nothing but the faintest imprint of dirt, neatly furrowed like a miniature Zen-garden at the roadside. The Treadstone agent bent down and examined the pattern minutely. Damn, he thought - missed him again. You can never get your hands on a good accountant when you need one.

AUTHOR'S NOTE : The published work is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is entirely coincidental.

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The Bourne Weekender : Jason Bourne's Secret Places; 
More of Jason's Secret Bitz
Jason's Country Getaways 
Braaiing with Bourne : The Greasy Fingers Guide to Lamb Chops
Wetwork Accounting : The Treadstone Guide to Writing off Liabilities  and 
The McGregor Fine Dining Guide : Jason's Gastronomique Gut   

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